In addition to book club appearances, keynotes, and motivational speaking, I offer a series of full-day workshops for writers of all levels, from beginning to advanced. Each can be adapted for shorter or more longer workshops (from one-hour overviews to five-day intensives). I also do a series of workshops on journaling for creative and personal growth.
If you’d like to book a talk, a book club appearance, or a workshop, email me at [email protected]. I’m available for virtual events or for live events post-pandemic. If you prefer an online course to a workshop, please check out my online course page.
Here’s what previous participants have to say:
“I’m at Starbucks with no writer’s block, thanks to you! I have a plan now! Sorry about all the exclamation points but I had been stuck for months and it’s so nice to be un—-!” Jan L.
“Yesterday’s workshop was so good. Every section was helpful….I attended [some other writing workshops] a few years ago, and they were perfectly fine, but compared to yours they’re quite sketchy. My point is not to criticize them but to point out that you offer what fiction writers really need.” – Lynette I.
Question Me a Novel: Idea to First Draft
The “Question Me a Novel” workshop is designed for writers who:
- Want to write a novel but don’t know where to start
- Have started a novel but don’t know how to finish
- Have written one or more novels that feel flat and lacking in depth
Based on the assumption that you are the expert on your novel, the system leads you through a series of open-ended, non-prescriptive questions and exercises that can take you all the way from the seed of an idea to a finished book, or move you through a “stuck” spot in your story. Whatever your genre, whether you’re a pantser or a plotter, this nuts & bolts workshop will give you practical, step-by-step strategies to take you from the initial idea to a completed first draft.
Spinning Words into Gold: Revision and Editing for Authors
The first draft’s finished, but it’s not the shining gem it was in your head. Maybe the characters are flat, maybe the setting is a cipher, maybe the plot has all the structure of pudding. The book you envisioned is in there somewhere, but you just can’t seem to find it. Sound familiar?
For most of us, that first draft is a promising mess; you can see glimmers of the book you wanted, but how to make it shine? Whether your draft is too thin or too fat, has structural flaws or tepid language, this workshop can help you strengthen story structure, deepen characters, sharpen dialogue, heighten tension, improve pacing, tighten and polish your prose, and just plain make your book better.
Mastering Point of View
Point-of-view, or POV, is one of the most challenging things for writers. It’s so easy to slip into from one character’s head into another’s without noticing that even the most experienced writers sometimes catch themselves doing it. In fact, in my workshops and coaching sessions, not to mention the contests I’ve judged, POV errors are among the most common.
Mastering POV will give you an edge when it comes to writing compelling and immersive novels. The skillful use of point-of-view draws your readers deeper into your book and is the greatest secret to mastering the art of “show, don’t tell.”
We’ll spend the first part of the day on choosing the right POV character and on how and why to avoid head-hopping, but the bulk of the workshop will focus on using deep point-of-view to develop character, create depth, and make your readers feel like they’re living your story. With writing exercises and practical, step-by-step strategies for using POV effectively, the “Mastering POV” workshop gives you tools for becoming a better writer.
Sell Your Books, Not Your Soul: Marketing and Promotion for Writers Who Hate Marketing
Your book has been published in print or electronic form or both. What now? Where are all the readers? Are your sales everything you’ve dreamed they would be?
“Sell Your Books, Not Your Soul is a workshop on book marketing and promotion for authors who would rather do almost anything but sell.
Sure, it would be great to sit in your pajamas and write while your books fly off the shelves, but the reality is, no matter how good your book is, no one will buy it unless they know it exists. But how do you let them know? Do you need Twitter? How often should you tweet? What about Facebook? Is social media the key to publishing success? What about newsletters, giveaways, contests, swag?
It’s easy to be overwhelmed by all the marketing advice out there. The truth is, the best marketing plan is the one you’ll actually do–the one tailored to your strengths and interests. If you love marketing, and if promotion comes easily to you, this workshop is not for you, but if, like most of us, you struggle with that side of the writing life, the “Sell Your Books, Not Your Soul” workshop can help.
Think of your favorite book. What brought it to life? Chances are, it was the characters. What is it that makes certain characters stay with us for days or even decades after we’ve turned the final page? This workshop focuses on turning paper people into complex, well-rounded individuals who will live on in your readers’ minds.
He Said, She Said: Writing Effective Dialogue
Effective dialogue is more than just what people say. It reveals character, drives the plot, reveals subtext, and often evokes emotion. It’s not speech. It’s an illusion of speech. When done correctly, the mechanisms are invisible. This workshop will show you how to write clean, crisp dialogue that brings your characters to life and sounds more natural than the real thing.
Keynotes and Motivational Talks
The Writer Has Three Brains
Whether or not you believe in writer’s block, whether or not you believe the muse is a delicate beast, there’s no denying that–for most of us–writing can sometimes be a struggle. Often, this happens when the metaphorical Editor Brain and Writer Brain are at odds. For years, I’ve helped my clients help these two aspects of the writer’s brain work together. But recently, I’ve realized there’s a third element at play, a third “brain” that influences each of the others in very specific ways. This fun and inspirational look at the creative process will help you bring all your writer “brains” into alignment so they can work together as they were meant to. The result? You revitalize your writing practice, unleash your muse, and take your writing to new heights.
A Writer’s Journal
Turn this simple tool into a powerful creativity engine. Learn how to use it to spark ideas, discover a story’s deeper layers, and kindle your creative fire.
Journaling for Emotional Healing and Personal Growth
Whether you’re a writer, a reader, or neither of the above, a journal is one of the most powerful personal development tools you can find. Let’s talk about how to use your journal to heal emotional wounds, develop positive habits, achieve spiritual growth, and build a life of prosperity, wellness, and joy.
Angel in the Clay: Discover Your Best Self Through Creative Play
Who says self-improvement and personal growth have to be dull? You can use creative play to gain insights, promote emotional growth, and enhance your strengths–in short, to become a better future you.
Being Hidalgo: The Power of Perseverance
Some people achieve their dreams with apparent ease, getting the job after the first interview, the promotion after a few months, the book contract within months of writing “the end,” the movie deal a few weeks later. Those people are Secretariats, fast out of starting gate, first to the finish line. But most of us are Hidalgo, forging on through setbacks and over treacherous terrain. We laud (and sometimes envy) the Secretariats, but remember: Hidalgo also won his race. This session focuses on the power of perseverance—not just staying the course, but building and bettering ourselves as we travel it. Not just pounding on the door, but finding the keys to make it open.
Your Write Life: Creating the Writing Life of Your Dreams
“If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?” This workshop will help you focus your dream, define your goals, navigate the every-changing world of publishing, and create a workable plan that will guide your toward the writing life that’s right for you.